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    Carabao Cup: Fourth round preview

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    The World Cup is in the books, which means it’s time for the real football to take centre stage – round four of the Carabao Cup.

    There are eight ties just before Christmas to whet that club football appetite once again, kicking off with four games on Tuesday evening.

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    Here’s 90min’s preview of the Carabao Cup round four.

    Tuesday 20 December

    Julen Lopetegui’s first match in charge of Wolves comes against League Two strugglers Gillingham.

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    The Gills reached round four after knocking out Brentford on penalties, scoring with their only shot to force an ultimately fruitful shootout.

    Lopetegui will be keen to see as many of his key players in action as possible here, so a strong Wolves XI should secure progression to the quarter-finals.

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    Prediction: Wolves 2-0 Gillingham

    Newcastle’s search to win a first trophy in over 67 years continues against Bournemouth.

    The Cherries held the Magpies to a credible 1-1 draw at St. James’ Park toward the start of Gary O’Neil’s interim reign.

    He leads Bournemouth back to Tyneside now as permanent boss, but they would do very well to avoid defeat this time around.

    Prediction: Newcastle 3-1 Bournemouth

    Leicester will be looking to pick up their season where they left off when they travel to Milton Keynes Dons.

    The Foxes began the season in turmoil, but have rallied behind Brendan Rodgers and went into the World Cup break in fine form.

    The same cannot be said for the Dons, who sit 22nd in League One. They did pull off a shock win at Portsmouth at the weekend at least, so, every cloud…

    Prediction: MK Dons 0-4 Leicester

    Nathan Jones’ first home game as Southampton manager sees the Saints take on Lincoln.

    The 49-year-old could go some way to endearing himself to the south coast faithful with a cup run to kick start his tenure.

    They face an Imps side mired between the promotion and relegation battles in League One and you’d expect a routine Southampton win. That said, they only beat Sheffield Wednesday on penalties in the last round.

    Prediction: Southampton 2-1 Lincoln

    Watch 90min’s World Cup show on YouTube as Harry Symeou, Scott Saunders, Grizz Khan and special guest Kieron Dyer review Argentina’s epic win over France on penalties. Subscribe to the channel here!

    Wednesday 21 December

    Vincent Kompany returns to old rivals Manchester United for the first time as a manager.

    The Manchester City legend has worked wonders in charge of Burnley this season, comfortably sitting clear atop the Championship table and working their way into round four.

    Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils looked to be clicking just before they were split up for the World Cup, and though his players are staggering back from Qatar, they should have enough in the tank.

    Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Burnley

    The Championship’s weirdest promotion contenders Blackburn do battle with the Premier League’s most random squad in Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.

    Jon Dahl Tomasson has Rovers third in the second tier table, with 13 wins, 10 losses and zero draws from their opening 23 matches. Their goal difference is -1.

    Steve Cooper’s Forest showed signs that maybe they aren’t doomed for relegation this season after all before their momentum was halted by the World Cup. Progression to the quarter-finals would get them back into gear.

    Prediction: Blackburn 1-2 Nottingham Forest

    League One Charlton will be thankful that they won’t have to take on world champion Alexis Mac Allister when Brighton come to south London.

    The Argentine isn’t expected to return until after the Boxing Day fixtures and so the Seagulls must soldier on without their talismanic playmaker.

    However can they hope to beat the team fighting to avoid a shock relegation to League Two?! We think they’ll be alright.

    Prediction: Charlton 0-3 Brighton

    Thursday 22 December

    The final fixture from round four sees modern rivals Manchester City and Liverpool square off at the Etihad Stadium.

    Both clubs have pleaded with their respective fans to ease tensions with the other such has the rivalry evolved into a bitter feud in recent years.

    While Erling Haaland will be itching to score some goals again after a month off, Pep Guardiola has already stressed that his side are down to the bare bones because of the World Cup, with greater importance placed on their fit and available stars.

    In the red corner, Liverpool have been dealt a hammer blow after Luis Diaz was ruled out for another couple of months. They may be the holders, but the impending fixture congestion and Jurgen Klopp’s historical distaste for the Carabao Cup means they’ll probably leave Manchester as losers.

    Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool

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